It was a big day for Chuck Kidder at Saratoga.Wednesday afternoon, Solid Platinum, a homebred filly Kidder races in partnership with John Griggs, captured a maiden race by three lengths. Wednesday night, a Giant's Causeway -- Alaska Queen colt, bred by Kidder in partnership, topped the second session of the Fasig-Tipton select yearling auction, bringing a final bid of $1.85 million from Barry Irwin of Team Valor."Anything past a million dollars was just total dreamland almost," said Kidder, a Central Kentucky veterinarian, of his big sale score. "But we had so much interest from the right people we expected him to be somewhere up in that range. It was exciting. Winning the ninth race at Saratoga was very exciting, too. It's been great."Kidder's partners in the breeding of the Giant's Causeway colt were Griggs (also a veterinarian in Central Kentucky) and Jim and Jason Mamakos of California. Jim Mamakos is a retired attorney. His son, Jason, is a trainer. Gainesway consigned the colt for the partners. "We've done this for a long time," Kidder said. "These are good partners. Everybody has some bad times, but was just one of those things that came together."Raised at Kidder's Corner Woods Farm in Kentucky, the $1.85-million colt is a half-brother to grade II winner Keats (by Hennessy), who sold for $280,000 at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling sale. The sires of both colts are sons of the powerful Storm Cat. Another colt out of Alaska Queen, Grand Score (by Grand Slam), brought $900,000 at the 2002 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling auction."When we bred this horse (the $1.85-million yearling), we were hoping to get a million-dollar horse, which we've never done before," Kidder said. "Oddly enough, his yearling half-brother two years ago brought $900,000, so all of a sudden it didn't seem that outlandish to us. When he was 30 days old, (the Giant's Causeway colt looked so good), I was thinking 'just don't get hurt.' He had a great attitude and was never sick; he was easy to raise."Alaska Queen, described by Kidder as an "elegant, pretty mare," is a half-sister to grade II winners Darn That Alarm and Strong Performance. A 13-year-old daughter of Time for a Change, she produced a Johannesburg colt this year and is in foal to Sky Mesa.
Prospective buyers, consignors, and Fasig-Tipton officials were cautiously optimistic prior to the Saratoga select yearling sale's starte even though the stock market and the Thoroughbred marketplace in general have lost momentum lately.